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Rise in car thefts in Duluth, police credit cold weather as opportunity

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DULUTH, MN -- With cold temperatures sticking around for a while, the Duluth Police Department is warning the community not to leave their cars running and unattended.

Duluth Police Public Information Officer, Ingrid Hornibrook said Friday car thefts are on the rise this winter.

"Anytime we see cold temperatures like we have been experiencing, it's more common for people to leave their cars running and car thieves are opportunists."

According to data from the Duluth Police Department, in the first week of February 2021, thieves stole 11 vehicles.

In the first week of February 2020, five vehicles were stolen.

January 2021 also saw a spike, when police say thieves took 33 vehicles in the Duluth area, which is 12 more than January 2020.

Hornibrook said car thefts can happen anywhere any time.

"One vehicle was taken from their driveway yesterday which can feel incredibly violating and a lot of them are happening at convenient stores, grocery stores," said Hornibrook.

There are things people can do to make sure it doesn't happen to you:

Don't leave anything valuable visible in your car.
Stay in your car while it warms up.
Lock your car and use a spare key to get it while it warms up.

Hornibrook adds the police department is currently working on finding many of the stolen vehicles.

Before each shift, police officers get a list of vehicles to keep an eye out for.

Lyanne Valdez

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